I think the US should never execute anyone. It's indefensible financially (it's cheaper to keep someone locked up for life), societally (no other first-world country executes anyone), and morally (for a whole host of reasons, including the horrible racial disparities in executions, the fact that we've made mistakes before and will make them again, the fact that revenge is not an appropriate motivation for punishment, and the fact that I simply don't believe we have the right to deliberately kill anyone).
Any argument you want to make along those lines, I fully support. The death penalty is wrong and should be abolished. Full stop.
I don't know if Troy Davis was innocent. You don't know either. Only a very few people know for sure. The best we as a society can do is use some sort of deliberative process to determine our best guess. In this case, that involves evaluating post-conviction recantations in some way.
Most of the people decrying the execution today on the merits (i.e. that Davis was innocent or deserved a new trial, rather than that all executions are wrong) seem to be implying that no one ever took seriously the recantations or other post-conviction evidence. That's not true. A Federal district court did so, and issued an order upholding the execution. It's here: http://multimedia.savannahnow.com/media/pdfs/DavisRuling082410.pdf . I particularly recommend the last 49 pages, starting at page 126, for a detailed analysis of the recantations and other evidence.
Now, I'm not willing to take a federal judge as the final word. I would love to hear someone who has read and digested the above link explain to me why Davis was "innocent enough" to not be convicted by a jury. The judge says there is still no reasonable doubt. I'd love to hear a response to that.
Instead what I'm hearing is people not acknowledging the above order. Most people probably haven't read it. That's fine. It's long. But I still feel like I haven't heard the rest of the conversation, and I'm not able to form a conclusion on Davis without it.
Have you read the order, and do you have a response to it? Or do you have a link to a blog post responding to it? Please, send it my way. Otherwise, I'm going to continue going on being pretty sure Davis deserved his conviction.
Though he didn't deserve to be executed. No one does. Davis was no different.
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